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NEC Labs bets on local talent for global solutions

NEC Laboratories India has taken to a community-based solutions approach for addressing social problems related to transport and logistics, while foraying into newer segments such as healthcare.

A part of the diversified NEC Corporation of Japan, the Indian facility — set up last year in Mumbai — has added another centre in Bengaluru for Data Science Research. It is open to setting up more such centres, one possibly in Hyderabad.

Akihiko Iketani, Head, NEC Laboratories India, told BusinessLine: “The way we function at our research labs is different from the way many others do. In our model, we identify the problem first and then work towards finding an appropriate technology solution after developing a prototype.”

Referring to some of the areas that the lab is working on, such as building artificial intelligence and robotic solutions for transport and logistics sectors, he said: “Our recent experience in India shows that we are able to develop solutions at a much a lower cost than in Japan.”

“Over the past 60 years, NEC, through the various group companies — NEC Technologies India, Netcracker, Rave Tech and Niteo — and with combined employment of over 6,000 people, has consolidated its India presence. The laboratory, one of the six located globally, will play a critical role in the future,” he said.

“One of the ways to expand business is identify the problems and concerns of smart cities, such as urban transport and healthcare, and engage with the local talent and take up joint R&D with academia as we do with IIT-Bombay, to create and deliver innovative solutions to the local and global markets,” he said.

The focus is now on co-creation by engaging with start-ups, local entrepreneurs and even technology graduates. In this approach, a problem is first presented and solutions/ideas are invited.

“The way we function has undergone some innovations. We start with a social challenge in India and then create solutions that we deploy not just in India, but also in other countries,” he said.

Source: The Hindu